Rising Deaf Reporter discriminated by Delta

Yesterday, via Twitter, a well-known rising reporter in the Deaf Community, Melissa Elmira Yingst, was discriminated by a Delta employee while trying to communicate via paper that her and her partner were trying to change their seats. This struggle is real in the Deaf Community, from Nyle DiMarco to the Melissa, whom is known as Melmira share their struggle with communication access within the airline industry. While some improvement with communication access with people with disabilities has improved, there is still alot of work to be done.

Melissa wrote on her Facebook post, “Whew. This is raw. I see this kind of stuff happen to many Deaf, DeafBlind, and DeafDisabled people in the news. I’ve always listened to those stories with disbelief. Ironically, I have even reported on some incidents for the news and never thought it’d become my “news”. Number one reason that is consistent – lack of access to communication needs. Even though I have seen this many times, it was a huge shock when it happened to us tonight. I know no one is immune to communication barriers and this kind of situation, so I felt the need to share our experience. The feeling of being oppressed is very traumatic.”

She and her partner detailed their experience via video on Facebook. The describe their experience with a Delta employee by the name of Felicia. According to Melissa, Felicia show very little respect by taking their paper that they were trying to communicating on by throwing it in the trash.

“I pulled out my notepad at that moment and wrote on paper saying that she was denying us our communication access and asked for her name, but she refused. I decided to look close on her badge and found her name was Felicia, I wrote it down. Again, I kept asking repeatedly to please write on paper with us.”

The situation then escalated when Felicia decided to call the airport police and made a false claim that Melissa assaulted her. According to Melissa, “She still refused and called the police on us. The police arrived and said that I assaulted her and was asked to leave. After numerous of times to communicate with the police back and forth regarding her refusal of communication, they said there is nothing that they can do but for us to book another flight back to LA. So we left and here we are at a hotel near the airport.”

Felicia holding a pink cell phone and not communicating with Deaf customers.

Discrimination against Deaf people need to stop. Airline industry has not done enough to create awareness, training and they are still in the 19th century by not providing close caption and/or subtitles to their entertainment.

Fans and friends respond back to their experiences.
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